The first night of “Crisis on Earth-X” is out…and it has everything, or rather everyone from all for CW DCTV shows. This is easily the most ambitious crossover the Arrowverse has attempted so far, with evil Nazi doppelgangers of our favorites coming to our Earth to fight our favorites. So, how did the first night go? We’ll give only limited spoilers, in order to encourage you to watch this impressive effort….but we will give you a quick summary and some top notes, so follow us after the jump!
Some Spoilers Ahead!
NOTE: This review is posting before CRISIS ON EARTH-X shows in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen it yet, STOP HERE and come back later. You really will be glad you did!
The regular show names (SUPERGIRL, ARROW, THE FLASH, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW) have all been dropped for this event. Every show starts with the “Crisis on Earth-X” logo, which is good. In past crossovers we’ve seen each show treat the rest of the heroes as “guest stars” rather than a full ensemble cast. Not so here. Yes, this starts with the West-Allen wedding, but that is more the plot device that brings everyone together. In this show, we have a true superhero ensemble, and it works so far.
The first 43 minutes of chapter one go by in preparation for the wedding. We see the women’s spa day and the guys getting suited up at the tailor’s. But from the start, the emphasis is on getting characters from different shows to interact. We see Ollie and Barry giving each other advice, Felicity getting “when will you and Ollie tie the knot” talk from Iris, Caitlin and Kara, some “where’s Mon-El” talk from the group with a rather awkward reply from Kara, and a fast attraction between Sara and Alex. We also get a proposal from Ollie to Felicity…that gets turned down flat!
All that leads to the attack just as the ceremony was getting started, something you should already know from the trailers leading up to tonight’s show. The heroes manage to stop the attack, but it’s more a stalemate. They capture the Prometheus of Earth-X and…
..we move to hour two.
That’s when the team learns about Earth-X, and we get more of Eobard Thawne.
Yes, Eobard Thawne of Earth One. After Flashpoint (and some time on LEGENDS), he survived and found his way to Earth-X to join the bad guys and help the Nazis win the war. In today’s era, he works with the general (bad Kara) and her husband, the evil version of Oliver!
This hour still has some emotional punch, but where hour one waited a long time for the big battles, this second hour was mostly fight after spectacular fight. We do learn:
- Bad Kara has absorbed far too much solar radiation and needs a new heart. Where to get one that works for her? Oh, yes…
- The overall plot is still to conquer Earth One…but that may yet go awry if bad Oliver can’t save bad Kara.
- Even with additional heroes joining in (like Mr. Terrific, Mad Dog, and Thea), they are no match for the bad guys, especially when joined by their own ace in the hole, Metallo!
This episode ends with the good guys captured…and in a concentration camp on Earth-X! That’s where the show leaves us till tomorrow night!
NOTES: Again, I have left out HUGE chunks of the story here, as you really need to see the show. Here are a few observations, though:
- This show has avoided the traps that so many crossovers have – the principal actors for each show truly get equal time here and equal importance to the plot. Not only that, but the supporting roles from each show get to shine throughout. That took a lot of doing from the writers, and kudos as well to the actors for pulling this off.
- Mick Rory provides constant comic relief, and it is pulled off flawlessly without taking away from the seriousness of the threat.
- Can I say one more time that Tom Cavanagh is completely awesome? Just when you’ve almost forgotten how completely rotten the first Harrison Wells was, you get a full-fledged reminder here with an outstanding performance!
- The production company obviously went all-out on the budget for a TV show, with extended and generally amazing fight scenes.
- Only one minor complaint, the excessive use of the (un)SteadyCam for some fight scenes. It got a bit shaky at times.
- The pacing was spot-on throughout the two hours. Even during that 43 minutes before the wedding crash, there was enough actual plot (and very little filler) to keep interest going. Once that first attack happened, the pace went into overdrive and basically stayed there for the rest of the two hours.
SUMMARY: This show tells us what JUSTICE LEAGUE could have been. Not perfect, but still awesome. The emotional content was there without dragging (like the first act of JL). The characters worked together well and the interactions made perfect sense. The evil doppelgangers gave the writers the opportunity to explore relationships in new ways, and they handled that task extremely well. Add Tom Cavanagh being awesome once again, and you have at least a 9/10 for tonight’s show. Of course, that’s just my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below.